If you do one thing in South Africa ensure that it is wine tasting. There are an abundance of vineyards with a large variety of blends to treat your taste buds. Tastings generally cost around 50 rand per person and you will try around 5/6 different wines. The length of the tasting depends on your interest in the wine however most take 30-60 minutes. Food is available at most at the wineries making them an ideal place to have a lengthy relaxing lunch. The main wine routes documented in the list below are the Constantia and Stellenbosch wine routes. Constantia is based a 20 – 30 minute drive from Cape Town centre and Stellenbosch is based a 40 minute drive from Cape Town centre. Visiting a winery is an experience in itself, each is unique in their own way, the list below are all a must for any wine lover!
1. Groot Constantia – This is the oldest wine producing estate in South Africa, dating back to 1685. Known for their high quality red wines it is a very popular winery to visit. At Groot there are two restaurants to choose from; Simons restaurant or the Jonkershuis, a museum, walks and of course the wine tasting area. Located on the Constantia wine route it is accessible by car or the city sightseeing bus. This is a must visit, with its Cape Dutch buildings, sweeping views all the way to False Bay and Cape Malay food served in the Jonkershuis it is a great insight into the early Cape colonial period.
2. Klein Constantia – Klein is another spectacular wine estate on the Constantia route which dates back to the 17th century. Known for their white wines and their famous dessert wine the ‘Vin de Constance’. A tasting here is incredibly varied starting with sparkling, then moving onto white, red, dessert wine and finally their version of grappa or as they name it, the ‘Spirit of Constantia Husk Spirit’. Their KC range is not available for tasting however it is a fantastic everyday wine and I would very much recommend buying a bottle. There is no restaurant at Klein however it is also a must see due to its worldwide popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to today; Napoléon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson, King George IV and Queen Victoria were all supporters of the winery.
3. Constantia Glen – One of my favourites on the Constantia wine route! If you are looking for a winery for a lengthy relaxing lunch this is the place to go. Their cheese and meat platters are truly one of a kind. The wines available for tasting are a mix of fruity whites and blended reds. Both their selection of wines are well renowned as well as the spectacular panoramic views from the restaurant and tasting area. This vineyard also catches the last of the sun so is ideal for watching the sun go down.Enjoy!
4. Steenberg Vineyards – Steenberg is where classic mixes with modern. The wine tasting area is surrounded by modern water features and the restaurant is housed in an art deco building, yet the vineyard has been around for centuries and you can tell! It is a wonderful place to do a sunset tasting!
5. Meerlust – Meerlust is based at the beginning of the Stellenbosch wine route if you are driving from Cape Town, it is a great first stop as yet again it has not only been around for centuries but some of the original building are still standing. The wine is incredible – if you like a full bodied red then this is the place for you! Try their ‘Rubicon’ or if they had it their ‘Red’ and remember to give the friendly dog a little pat as they escort you to and from the tasting room.
6. Lanzerac – Lanzerac is well known amongst the older South African generation for their famous cheese and wine buffet lunches. Nowadays it is the place to go for a fabulous wine and chocolate pairing – a truly unique experience in beautiful surroundings.
7. Spier – Spier has been set up as a tourist destination, however you would not know this if you hadnt of just read it. Stunning gardens and views all around, a small petting zoo and farm, craft stalls, a deli, tasting room and fantastically fair priced ‘8’ restaurant – this vineyard is one of a kind, you can also stay in their selection of lodgings. Not only do they have all of the above but their are an eco friendly vineyard and only serve up food in their restaurant that has been reared or grown on their land, with regards to their wine they have some really unique blends such as chardonnay and pinot noir – a must try! Spier is truly a treat!
Other vineyards of note to visit are as follows;
Muratie – Stellenbosch
Kanonkop – Stellenbosch
Cape Point Vineyard Estate – Noordhoek
Beau Constantia – Constantia
Buitenverwachting – Constantia
The wineries noted above are just a selection of our favourites in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, there are many many more just waiting to be visited!!
If you have any other suggestions of vineyards that are worthy a visit of mention then please do comment below!!